KATHMANDU, July 12 : The Office of the Auditor General (OAG) has said that it will name the head of a public office, who has financial arrears and is involved in other financial indiscipline, in its next annual report. It will audit all public spending of the current fiscal year and make public the report by mid-April.
Naming of the head of office will be a new practice, as the OAG currently only names the public offices for financial indiscipline. The OAG officials said the naming of the head will help to keep track record of financial performance of government employees and project managers.
Keeping record of financial performance is expected to discourage financial indiscipline in government offices. Accordingly, the head of the institution will be obliged to maintain financial accountability.
Each head of the institution needs to complete internal audit before leaving the job. However, they do not follow this mandatory provision. When they leave the job, they also leave behind large amounts of accounted expenditure, resulting in pile up of financial arrears each year.
Speaking at the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on Wednesday, Auditor General Tank Mani Sharma said this ‘naming’ provision will at least remind the heads of the institutions that their names will go in the government record.
As per the OAG direction, a meeting of government secretaries has decided that civil servants’ financial accountability record will be included in their performance appraisal. This will affect their promotion or appointment as chief of major government projects.
A guideline is in the making at Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers (OPMCM) to include financial accountability in the employee’s performance appraisal, said Gopi Nath Mainali, the secretary at OPMCM.
Steady rise in arrears of government spending over the years is alarming. The arrears increased by Rs 68 billion or by 20.62 percent in Fiscal Year 2015/16, putting the amount to Rs 396 billion. The lawmakers at PAC in a discussion with OAG pointed out that the amount is more than the total budget allocated for development expenditure.
Lawmaker Bikash Lamsal said that the increasing arrears was a matter of shame. The PAC is the top authority to discuss on OAG report and settle arrears. However, it has not yet started discussions on the OAG reports of last two years.
“For this reason, we should admit that we too are responsible behind the rise in financial indiscipline,” added Lawmaker Mina Pun.
Auditor General Sharma suggested introducing a law on financial accountability immediately, adding that it will also help government planning and budget-making.
The OAG has said that it will cover all 5,500 public agencies in its audit report from next year on.
The OAG has also issued warning to Rastriya Beema Sansthan to complete audit by mid-September, as it has not submitted audit report for the last six years.
Likewise, the OAG also warned Nepal Tourism Board, Citizens Investment Trust, and Nepal Food Corporation who have not submitted audit reports of the last two years.